Notes From Dr. Sam

Notes From Dr. Sam

Good Day,

I hope this note finds you well.

For forty-two years I had the wonderful privilege of sitting, listening and dispensing advice to my friends about their health. Over that time I created a list of suggestions for a healthy life. It included all of the usual suspects such as exercise, eating good, managing stress, etc. Number Eleven on that list was: No matter how well you take care of yourself, illness will come. When it does, take care of it early and thoroughly, then go back and repeat numbers one though ten.

Recently, I had the opportunity to test out number Eleven. I will spare you the gory details but on the evening of December the 3rd my dear wife drove me to the ER at Mercy Hospital in Hot Springs because my prostate had decided it no longer would allow me to pee. Back in the 1940s there was a sham-doctor in the state by the name of Dr. John R. Brinkley. The good doctor was known to say that the prostate was the cocklebur of old age for men.

Over the next several weeks I became a connoisseur of urinary catheters, donut pillows, loose fitting pants and soft chairs. When it became apparent that none of these temporary measures would work I developed a close relationship with a surgical robot named Da Vinci.

I am writing this note around the second week of February and can tell you that I am now about 85% back to normal. From the first, I walked on a regular basis and about two weeks ago began running, swimming and doing light weight work. I will probably be back on the bike in a few weeks but we will take that as it comes.

Now to the reason I have felt compelled to tell you all of this. My past role in these events would have been to blithely write a script, ask the nurse to arrange for some type of procedure, be kindly reassuring and walk out of the room but now I have been on the other side of the bed.

Despite proximity to illness and disease I have never had to stare it straight in the face in an up-close-
and-personal fashion.

One of the things I have learned about myself is not terribly reassuring. Clearly, I have a healthy dose of hypochondria. I spent the better part of eight weeks thinking and talking about nothing but my “problem.”

Even though she never said anything, I could tell that Annette was getting a bit tired of it but I kept at it anyway. I now have a much healthier respect for those people who deal with an interwoven complex of three or four illness at once. I literally would have been a basket case.

That brings us around to taking medicine. I have never had to take pills. At one point during my “problem” I had four pills that had to be taken on schedule each day. At least once a day I would stew over whether I had taken the blue capsule or the yellow one with my early morning swallow.

As for pain medicine, I took a total of three oxycodone tablets during the time of surgery before I realized how perfectly dreaded they were. If I had to suffer from chronic pain, I would just have to suffer; they played dreadful tricks with my mind.

I know I was not the first nor will I be the last and in truth my problem was a cocklebur compared to what many of my friends have had to deal with it but it did get my attention.

Have a good journey.